Thursday, November 20, 2014

Green Bean Casserole — Grain-free and Primal

What's your favorite Thanksgiving dish? Tough question, I know. Green bean casserole probably is my favorite. Though if you put a bowl of really good mashed potatoes in front of me, I might just change my mind.

Every year when I make this casserole, I wonder why I only make it on Thanksgiving. My family loves it. It's not all that complicated. Why isn't it in my semi-regular meal rotation?

Amazing Green Bean Casserole — grain-free and primal │

This is the year I will make this more than once. It just makes sense.

Amazing Green Bean Casserole — grain-free and primal │

This particular recipe is exquisitely delicious because it uses fresh green beans and everything is made from scratch. It requires a bit more effort than dumping a few cans into a casserole dish, but it is well worth the extra time.

And it doesn't really take all that long.

Amazing Green Bean Casserole — grain-free and primal │

The crispy onions were the most surprisingly successful element to this dish considering they don't contain any grain. They don't crisp up quite as much as regular flour, but they do have a satisfying crunch and the flavor is great. My husband really couldn't tell the difference.

Amazing Green Bean Casserole — grain-free and primal │

This recipe generously serves four, so I will likely triple it on the day of Thanksgiving so there might be a chance of leftovers. If you want to make this a few days ahead of time, I would wait to top it with the onions until you warm it to serve.

Amazing Green Bean Casserole — grain-free and primal │
I have a hunch that you could make this dairy-free by substituting coconut milk and ghee for the cream and butter. I would think that it would still be great, but I haven't tried it. If someone ever does, will you let me know how it turned out?

Grain-free Green Bean Casserole

Adapted from Peace, Love, Low Carb


  • 1 lb. green beans, washed, trimmed, and halved
  • 1/2 of a small onion, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup parmesan, grated


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add in the green beans and cook for about 5 minutes.
  3. While the green beans are boiling, prepare a large ice water bath.
  4. As soon the 5 minutes are up, remove the green beans with a slotted spoon and immediately shock them in the ice bath to stop the cooking. Drain and set aside.
  5. In a medium bowl, combine almond flour, salt, pepper, and sliced onions. Toss to coat.
  6. Warm the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet.
  7. Fry the onions in small batches until brown and crispy. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  8. In an oven-proof skillet, melt the butter, then add in mushrooms and garlic. Simmer until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes.
  9. Add in the chicken stock and cream. Simmer for an additional 5 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly.
  10. Slowly stir in the parmesan until it is all combined. Add in the green beans and mix thoroughly.
  11. Top with the crispy onions and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.


Monday, November 17, 2014

Chalk Lettering — Part Two: Design & Layout

Welcome to Part Two of my guide to chalk lettering. If you missed it, check out Part One here where I talk about general tips and practice suggestions to get you started.

I'm sharing this guide, not as a chalk expert, but as an amateur myself — hoping what I've learned through my practice will be helpful to other newbies.

Chalk Lettering — tips, ideas, and techniques [part two] │

The following is the basic method of how I design and layout my chalk lettering. I'm sure there are other ways of doing it, but this is what I learned makes the most sense to me. In my experience, it helps to have a plan in place and take things in steps.

Figure Out What Phrase or Quote You Want to Chalk

Sometimes I already have something in mind of I want to say and sometimes I browse Pinterest or google quotes on a specific theme. I suggest you start with a shorter saying until you get the hang of things. Also keep in mind the size of your canvas when selecting your quote. If you have a whole wall, then you can go crazy with a long quote, but if you're just using a small canvas, keep it short and sweet.

I chose "I love the point when you are so tired that everything is funny" for my example.

Chalk Lettering — tips, ideas, and techniques [part two] │

Lay It Out On Paper

1. Write it out. Now's not the time to worry about handwriting or style — just get the words on the page.

2. Decide what shape you want to fill. If your canvas is rectangular and you want to fill the whole thing, then draw a rectangle. In my case, I thought a circle would be a nice shape for this particular short saying.

3. Think about which words are the most important and emphasize them. In my case, I wanted to emphasize "tired" and "funny." The most effective way to do that is to put them on their own line. Since I was working with a circle, I figured out that "tired" needed to be quite big and wide to fill the central spot. I then balanced the rest of the saying to fill my shape.

Chalk Lettering — tips, ideas, and techniques [part two] │

Select the Style of the Important Words

For my example, I already knew that I needed a big and wide style for "tired." I try to pair the mood of the saying with the style of the lettering, so I didn't want anything too frilly or serious. So I sketched out a few examples until I found something that I liked. Here also is not a time to try and letter the words perfectly, just do a rough sketch.

The top example wasn't bold enough and looked a little too thin, so I chose the second and wider choice. For the word "funny", I didn't like how the two "n's" can look like an "m" in the script. I almost liked the second sketch, but at the last minute decided to not shade in the bold downstrokes.

If you don't think you can come up with your own lettering style, pick out an appropriate font and try to copy that as closely as you can.

Chalk Lettering — tips, ideas, and techniques [part two] │

Draft It Up

Now we get to the chalk. Draw your shape and roughly sketch in the words, paying attention to scale. This sketch is not for style, but for size. To get things centered, I don't write from left to right, but start in the middle and work out.

Fill It In — Top to Bottom

Line by line, I erase the rough sketch and carefully chalk in my lettering. I start at the top because I usually end up accidentally smudging the lower lines as I go.

Chalk Lettering — tips, ideas, and techniques [part two] │

Embellish It

The last thing I do is embellish. For my example, I made the circle into a simple laurel wreath. I like to leave the embellishments until the end because they are of secondary importance to the words. I prefer to keep them rather simple too, which is a purely personal stylistic choice.

I'm intending to write a "part three" that talks more about embellishments and all those pretty little extras soon.

This is the method I used to design my fall chalk wall. Here's my initial sketch:

Chalk Lettering — tips, ideas, and techniques [part two] │

My chalk wall is tucked in a back corner of the hallway. Here's what it looked like in the end:

Chalk Lettering — tips, ideas, and techniques [part two] │

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out and comment below or email me!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Free Printable Christmas Movie Quote Gift Tags [Sister Inspirations]

In an effort to get a jump-start on Christmas, we decided to focus November's Sister Inspirations on Christmas gift tags. If you're already one of those crazy people with all their shopping done (good for you!), then you might just want to add a fun little gift tag to your wrappings. If you haven't even started thinking about gifts yet, maybe these will get you in the spirit!

Free Printable Christmas Movie Quote Gift Tags │

My little downloads for you have a bit of a sense of humor. A few of the gift tags probably aren't the best to put atop your sweet grandmother's present, but a gift tag for your Uncle Bob which reads "Merry Christmas, you filthy animal" just might be perfect. All my gift tags have quotes pulled from famous Christmas movies.

Free Printable Christmas Movie Quote Gift Tags │

Feel free to print as many as you would like for your own personal use.

download the b&w gift tags here

download the red gift tags here

download the green gift tags here

Megan made lovely traditional Christmas gift tags over at A Little Nutmeg for your less humor-inclined gift recipients. Head on over there to grab her gift tags!

Linking to I Heart Naptime's Link Party PaloozaLove of Family and Home's Inspire Me Please Party, and Craftberry Bush's Inspiration Gallery